We Keep You Company
Just the Tonic at The Caves
First night nerves and poor direction hinder an admirable attempt at a Kafka classic.
The Trial certainly has a hold over the audience as it asserts an overall theme of entrapment but the lack of attention to detail slowly picks away at any good work the creative team and actors have put into the production.
We Keep You Company turns audience into jury as you are catapulted into the case against Josef K, yet his crime neither he nor the audience is aware of. The cast's acting ability as an ensemble is above average but the individual portrayals leave much to be desired. One such example being Declan Cooke as Titorelli. His terrible European accent and unnecessary extrovert mannerisms mean the audience can not take any part of his scene seriously.
You can't help but feel that director Lee Williams is grappling with a play that has a lot more depth than he realises. Josef K is possibly the most flatline character in the history of theatre, never showing any desperation to investigate his odd situation. However O'Brien's portrayal as the uninterested and uninspiring thirty-year-old shows almost too much willing to get involved in his own and other people's circumstances in this retelling of the story.
For example when two officers Willem and Franz are being punished by the powers inflicting court ruling on Josef, his offering to pay for their release seems extremely out of character. There are many moments in this abridged script that appear to have been altered to the detriment of the original text, creating an incoherent and slightly contradictory performance. Although the unknown surrounding the court hearing is enthralling and the mystery is definitely evident.
Overall The Trial by We Keep You Company is unfortunate as the hard work that has gone into the piece is very evident, but the final product just doesn't quite reach the expectation that comes with performing a Kafka play.
The Trial runs at Just the Tonic at The Caves until 11 August 2013
Reviewer: Liam Blain